The Government has agreed to relax visa conditions for a short period to allow temporary migrant workers and international students to further assist with our essential services during the COVID-19 response. This decision will help essential businesses that are operating during Alert Level 4 to keep operating while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4.
Work visa holders with employer-specific work visas already employed in essential services will be able to vary their hours and be redeployed to do other roles within their current workplace. They can also perform their current role in a different workplace to help essential businesses keep operating while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4 and for six weeks after that.
International students who are already employed in an essential services role will be able to work longer hours for their current employer while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4 and for six weeks following. Students who are employed in an essential services role and wish to work more than 20 hours must still meet their study requirements and should discuss their plans with their education provider.
The short time-frame will enable employers in essential industries to maintain their labour pool as hiring would be very difficult while New Zealand remains at Alert Level 3 or 4.
Any amendment to an employee’s conditions of work must be compliant with normal New Zealand employment law and the individual or collective employment agreement relevant to the employee.
People holding interim visas are not able to apply for a Variation of Conditions.
There are no fees or levies payable for a Variation of Conditions under this special category.
The changes come into effect on Thursday 16 April 2020 and the INZ website will be updated with further information, including the relevant form, as soon as possible.
A list of essential sectors during Alert Level 3 or 4 can be found on: MBIE | Essential sectors